Friday, August 17, 2007

Shocking! (It's a pun...honest.)

Shocking! (It's a pun...honest.)
Originally uploaded by matthew_reames.

(This post was originally written on Friday, July 27, 2007)

What is it, you ask?

It's down inside the Vilnius Power Plant.

Yes, down inside the Vilnius Power Plant. Now, it hasn't actually been in service since 1998 but for many years it provided power and heat to much of Vilnius.

Today I went to the Lithuanian Energy Museum. It's inside the turbine hall of the old power plant and contains quite a few power-related objects, including the three original turbines, a model of a Soviet-era nuclear power plant, the plant control room, many small electrical circuit things, and a couple cars.

In the middle of the hall are two large openings, allowing access to the under-floor workings of the power plant. One opening has an inviting ladder. (Okay, it's not so much inviting as it is tempting.) I went back to the desk and, in a mixture of Russian, Lithuanian and English, I asked if I could go down. (Before you get too impressed with my language skills, the Russian was an approximation of "excuse me," the Lithuanian was "thank you" (at least I hope that's what I've been saying to people this week) and the English was "down, yes" all accompanied by pointing and nodding hopefully.)

The old man said I could go down so I headed back to the ladder. Just as I was climbing down, deep into the inner workings of this former power plant, the man appeared. Had I misunderstood? But no. He was bringing me a flashlight.

So I descended into the rusting hulk of machinery. As I wandered around in the not-totally-dark-but-not-really-light-enough-to-see-too-much, so many questions crossed my mind.

"What are all these pipes for?"

"Why are the labels in Russian rather than Lithuanian?"

"What happens if I fall through these floor panels"?

"What is the Lithuanian word for 'aesbestos'"?

But as you can see, I made it out alive and respiratorily sound.

More about the Lithuanian Energy Museum at


Post a Comment

<< Home